Opinion of the .577 2-3/4” NItro

Discussion in 'Double Rifles' started by frog stealer, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Hello all,

    A vintage Hollis double chambered for the .577 2-3/4” shell recently appeared for sale on the web not to long ago. This rifle is regulated with the 750 grain bullet at 1800 fps.

    What’s your opinion on this caliber and bullet weight? Woodleigh lists a minimum impact velocity of 1800 fps for reliable expansion, so I’m having doubts about bullet availability if I can’t use the Woodleighs due to the velocity being too slow.

    The rifle I believe is offered at a decent price, and I would be interested in purchasing it this would be a useful caliber.

    Thanks!
     

  2. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    Useful is relative (useful for what?). Anything short of elephant, I'd not hesitate.
     

  3. Von S.

    Von S. AH Fanatic

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    Mister FrogStealer

    Do you want that weapon. Do you really want it.

    Then tomorrow morning go buy it.

    I have never touched a weapon or shot a round that I did't like.
     

  4. steve white

    steve white AH Veteran

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    Seems a bit short...might have 577 envy issues...
     

  5. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Most of the .577 2 3/4 inch rifles that I have seen were BPE - as in black powder express. Some true nitro express rifles were made in 2 3/4 but they are pretty rare. Are you certain what this one is? If a BPE, it is unsuitable for elephant and marginal for buffalo. I would not find it a very practical double. Though practicality rarely influences me when it comes to rifles.

    Seriously though, if this is your first double it is not a great choice. Reloading smokeless for black can be tricky on the bigger cases requiring fillers, etc. And should you eventually get it to regulate, it is still of rather limited utility. And if a true nitro, you will still be challenged finding a bullet that works at those modest velocities.
     
    rookhawk and bruce moulds like this.

  6. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Thanks for the responses guys. Yes, this Hollis was made in 1904 I believe and is a true full nitro. Seems like I’ve heard that in the .577 guns, anything less than full 3” velocity will give you penetration issues...that being said I would probably only use it on buff and smaller. Maybe Hawk makes some softer options that will expand at reduced velocities.
     

  7. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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  8. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    You are correct. Definitely a nitro and seems to be a very nice gun. To be honest, I don’t have much interest in the typical .577 3” because they are always huge cumbersome things to actually take hunting. Most of the other calibers make up into far handier and more effective choices - particularly for us clients. This rifle, however, makes up into a much more usable package.

    It has quality where it matters - ie the barrel jointing - with no other mere bells and whistles. Almost certainly built with a colonist or serving officer in mind (bit too early for a PH).

    Like all doubles, make sure you get an inspection period. Best is to coordinate with someone like JJ Perodeau for a thorough look over and have the seller ship directly to him. But yes, though something of neither fish nor fowl, this could be a very interesting rifle to take after buffalo.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019

  9. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Thanks Red Leg for the info. I’m going to toss this one around and see if it comes down any more in price. Seems a little steep for what it is.
     

  10. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE AH Elite

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    Red Leg likes this.

  11. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Very good read...thanks for the link AZDAVE!
     

  12. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    And looks like this one was built at 11lbs.
     

  13. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I had to do some poking myself because this gun intrigued me. Incidentally, I've owned a similar Isaac Hollis in 500 Nitro-For-Black and I can say that the quality of the guns are typically pretty good for that maker at that time period.

    Here are the things that I wasn't so crazy about:

    The 1800FPS with a .577 2-3/4" case is based on old Kynoch data. That data was using a 28" barrel, and on top of that they exaggerated the performance. If this is a 25" or 26" barrel, in all likelihood the gun will regulate at a speed of around 1625-1675 FPS. So if indeed the barrel is shorter than 28", there went velocity. Even with the 28" barrel, it will probably regulate at 1750fps because the data "embellished" a bit.

    Next issue. A .577 is a stopping gun. Stopping guns need solids. A pre-WWI double rifle cannot use a modern solid. The modern mono-metal solids are too light by volume, aka they are too long. So first problem is that a modern solid will literally separate the ribs because a 650-750gr .577" piece of brass/copper doesn't turn corners very well and the barrels are not straight. Add to that, the original "solids" of days gone by do not exist anymore. The "original" solids were soft lead with a steel jacket, a meplat (hopefully) to prevent the lead from oozing out the back of the bullet, and then were covered in a copper jacket. Those don't exist anymore. As of last I time I checked, not one soul on the planet was able to make them. Today, cup-and-core bullets are made ass-end to tip, whereas the "original" solids were from bullet tip to the butt. The butt would have a hole in it and the meplate would mitigate lead squirting out of the solid upon impact. So no original solids exist and modern solids won't work on this gun.

    Next issue. The .577 bullets that exist will not open correctly at such low velocities. Yes, I'm sure Hawk can make you some soft bullets that might open at lower velocities, but at that point they are so lethargic due to the low velocity from Point #1 above that the penetration is going to be less than desirable.

    Next issue. You don't have pin gauges yet to run through the bores to figure out what the bore diameter is all along the rifle. IF the bore diameter isn't standard, then you're in a further pickle trying to find / make bullets to feed the thing. Buying swaging dies isn't an easy solution because what would you swage against, some proprietary never-to-be-made-exactly-the-same run of Hawk bullets? If Hawk goes belly up, what then? (Woodleigh, Peregrine, Cutting Edge, North Fork are no-go in this scenario, as is patched lead)

    Some rough data to consider as well:

    750gr bullet at 1750fps out of an 11lb gun is giving you 89.5lbs of felt recoil. That's a hell of a punishment on the shoulder, a full 20 pounds more than a 470 Nitro Express and 15 pounds more than a 500 Nitro Express. Yet the bullet selection is problematic, the velocity is problematic, and there is no solid in existence to give you the superior penetration that is required to "make the gun work as originally intended".

    750gr bullet at 1750fps gives you 5099 energy, 187 momentum, and 108 Taylor KO rating.

    At 35 yards using 750gr and 1750fps you actually have around 4702 FPE and at 50 yards you're at 4540 FPE. (Penetration issues and bad bullet options get extra dicey here)

    Now suppose my fears about regulation in a shorter barrel pan out. If that's a 26" barrel and it regulates at 1675fps, this is what you're dealing with: 4673 FPE at the muzzle. 4305FPE at 35 yards. 4156FPE at 50 yards. At the muzzle 179 momentum and 103 Taylor KO rating...but fading fast.

    If this was your 5th double rifle in your stable, I'd be rooting for you to buy the thing because it just cool. But if this is your first dangerous game rifle and if you actually are thinking of hunting dangerous game in Africa, this is not the gun for that job. From nasty recoil to lethargic velocity, horrible bullet selections in softs, no options to use solids, and for many more reasons, this is not the gun to bring down an elephant and may prove more marginal than you'd think on Buffalo.

    Some errata to bolster my claims:

    Rifleshootermag.com article mentions problems with velocity even with modern .577 3" ammo as follows: "One of the things we learned was that much of the .577 ammo out there is loaded too slow. The stuff we had fail in 2008 chronographed at about 1,850 fps, 200 fps below specs. Recoil wasn't pleasant but was sustainable--except, with the kind of frontal area presented by an elephant, we didn't have the velocity we needed to ensure penetration." <- Reason, the kynoch data from 1926 was A.) Lying, and B.) Using 28" test barrels. In the real world, even the .577 3" has some concerns, the 2-3/4" much more so.
     
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  14. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    One more addendum as I had to geek out and run a few more calculations to find out if more data supported my concerns above.

    Alphin in his book "Any Shot You Want" created the Alphin Penetration Index, a good enough or flawed enough yardstick to measure penetration of bullets for dangerous game.

    His quote:

    The penetration index when hunting elephants
    The penetration index shows how suitable bullets are for big game hunting. The higher the index the better bullets fit.

    • A bullet with a penetration index lower than 85 isn’t suitable for hunting elephants.
    • A shot to the head of a big game, with a penetration index from 85 to 100 works but isn’t recommended.
    • Bullets with an index from 100 to 130 are suitable for hunting elephants.
    • Any index above 130 is perfect for a shot to the head of an elephant.
    Formula in our example = Frontal Area (.261482437) / Kinetic Energy (4671FPE or 5101FPE) * Sectional Density (.313) = Answer Squared. Then do square root to get simple Alphin Penetration Index Score.

    Excerpts from his table:

    Some Examples Of Suitable Penetration Proven By History And His Penetration Index:

    7 mm 7×57 Mauser 110
    375 H&H 132
    416 Riby 131
    458 Win Mag 102
    470NE 92
    500NE 91

    The math as pertains to the .577 Nitro Express 2-3/4" with a 750gr bullet:

    Now take penetration index of the 750gr .577" going 1675fps at the muzzle (worst case) is = 75
    Now take penetration index of the 750gr .577" going 1750fps at the muzzle (best case) is = 78


    In conclusion. Not a good plan for dangerous game.
     

  15. Pondoro

    Pondoro AH Fanatic

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    Rookhawk….you are 100% on this… (y)
     

  16. frog stealer

    frog stealer AH Veteran

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    Rookhawk,

    Thanks so much for the insight. I’m glad guys with your knowledge and these forums exist to provide me a resource to help avoid a regretful sale.

    This actually will be my first double, and I fully intend on using it for dangerous game. Back to searching we go!
     

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